RAW Files – Software updates
When you buy a new camera, the camera will often include software to allow the new owner to view the files produced by that particular model of camera. Also, when you buy a new package of picture viewing or picture manipulation software, that software will normally recognize all of the camera formats that were in effect at the time that that software was issued.
The above process works remarkably well, thanks to a reasonable measure of cooperation between the various vendors of computers and cameras and the manufacturers of the software. However, what about the person who buys a camera that is newer than the particular computer and therefore, newer than the software that was installed on that computer at the time of purchase, or, similarly, what about the situation where the camera is newer than the particular software package that a person has been using successfully with their previous camera model?
Since jpeg is a standardized format, there should be no new issues when the new camera is purchased. A click or double-click on the jpeg file icon should open the file. If more than one photo viewing program is on the computer, you may be prompted to pick which software program to use to open the file. Normally, though, the computer will just default to the past program that you used to open that type of jpeg file.
Since RAW files are not standardized, they will vary from camera model to camera model and from manufacturer to manufacturer. Therefore, you may not be able to open the RAW file properly unless you have a program capable of interpreting the RAW data properly. This can lead to problems in the ‘old’ software/ ‘new’ camera situation, since the ‘old’ software will not recognize or interpret properly those RAW files relating to cameras manufactured after the software was first produced.
Each time that a new model of camera comes out, the manufacturers of the software have to issue a new version of their software to recognize the parameters of the RAW file that is specific to the particular model of camera. To overcome any problems opening RAW files in the ‘old’ software/ ‘new’ camera situation, you will need to go to the website of the manufacturer of the software that you are using and update to a more recent version. There is usually no cost associated with doing so.
For Adobe products, here is a place to start, although you might need to do a bit of clicking to get to the particular download that applies to your software: www.adobe.com/downloads/. Other software manufacturers will have similar sites on-line for the products that they support.
What if you have installed the latest version of the software and still can’t open the file?
This problem would likely mean that the file itself is corrupted. The easiest way to test this theory, would be to try to use the same software to open a different file of the same format. If it opens one file and not the other, and the file formats are the same, then file corruption is the likely problem and the suspect file is probably not usable. Such problems are outside of the scope of this simple tutorial.
Still another problem:
Newer cameras produce huge files compared to cameras as little as 5 years older. If a file opens but is slow to open or stalls part way through the process, it is likely a sign that you are running out of hard drive space or need more RAM in the older computer to handle the necessary file manipulations. Such problems are outside of the scope of this simple tutorial.
Hope this information is useful.
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